In Which I Take Advice, Just in Time
I have bracketed this post with photographs of lovely spring flowers in order to distract us all from the fact that this week will go down in family history as the one where Mummy almost died from drinking lemon and ginger instead of taking antibiotics like a sensible person. Last time I noted I was going to be attempting to resolve an infected leech bite without resorting to antibiotics. Well, it almost worked. Almost. On Thursday I woke up feeling fine. The swelling on my ankle was down, the redness almost gone. Hurrah! I bounced out of bed, did some household jobs, took the dog for a walk, had a little restorative nap. Thursday night I looked at my ankle. It had developed spots, like mosquito bites.
"Leech-induced hysteria," was Posy's diagnosis. Then, "That qualifies as redness outside the line the doctor drew. I think you should go get the antibiotics."
"No," I said, "I think maybe it's something like hives. Maybe I am developing an allergy to leech bites."
By bedtime I had similar 'hives' behind my knee. At 3am I was woken by unbearable itching and more swelling. I applied aloe vera. In the morning my whole ankle was swollen and red and I noticed the 'hives' were now tracking a pathway up my leg and were halfway up my thigh. The swelling was increasing as I watched it.
Reactions from my children:
The Girl: Muuuum! That sounds like lymph node poisoning. Take the antibiotics immediately.
The Boy: If you get your leg amputated, can I have it?
Posy: No, don't let him have it, I want it.
Rosy: Get in the car and I'll take you to the Medical Centre.
So here I am, home, with my leg up, and due to the marvels of modern technology in the form of antibiotics I am not dead yet and all my limbs are intact. I was under strict instructions to return to the doctor if the swelling hadn't gone down in 24 hours, but it has, and the redness is nearly gone.
It was rather frightening though, in the first few hours after taking the antibiotics, and before they had started taking effect, watching the inexorable march of what I now know was a bacterial infection following the lymph system as it made its way up my leg straight towards all my major organs. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if that had been me one hundred years ago. Would I have been able to shake the infection off, or would it have shaken me off? A sobering thought. It seems ridiculous to be so well one day, then due to an infection, so seriously unwell the next, due to nothing but a leech bite, and yet this kind of thing happened all through history, and continues to happen everywhere now where people don't have the luxury of ready access to medical care. Frightening.
I made a little thank offering to a medical organisation which works in areas where people do not have the kind of access to to medical care that I do. It seems like an inadequate response, but it's all I can think of right now.
I think we need some more spring flowers now, to recover..
This is a miniature peach tree surrounded by self-sown primula.